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Today, many diseases plague modern man, and more and more people are looking beyond science for solutions. Enter the world of homeopathy. Homeopathy or homeopathic medicine is the natural treatment of diseases using highly diluted substances that enable the body to self-heal. This practice first saw the light in the 1700s in Germany before spreading to the rest of Europe. Today, people no longer dismiss homeopathy as readily as they have in the past. The scientific and academic communities are slowly recognizing the benefits of homeopathy not just as an alternative treatment, but as a complement to the more widely accepted field of medicine.
Among the more popular homeopathic practices is the use of essential oils. Many can attest to the power of their healing properties that cover a wide range of conditions from skin concerns to anxiety. Owing to their popularity, the production of essential oils is already widespread, and many brands abound in the market. However, with the plethora of choices, many first-time buyers are unsure how to shop for essential oils. Do you share their uncertainty? Why not start your aromatic journey by reading this guide on how to go about shopping for essential oils?
What are essential oils?
Essential oils are compounds from plants that result from extraction. The oils retain the fragrance or “essence” of the plant. Because these compounds are potent, they need to be diluted with carrier oils such as jojoba essential oil, coconut oil, and grapeseed oil. These oils are then used to heal a variety of ailments and conditions.
How are they produced?
How the essential oils are produced is critical to establishing their quality. The more popular methods are distillation (through steam and water) and cold pressing. Cold pressing is a mechanical process by which biomass is broken or crushed to extract essential oils.
Which essential oils should I try first?
As a newbie, it would be wise to go with the essential oils that have been around for some time, meaning they have been substantially tried and tested. Here are a few of the top essential oils that you might want to sniff out on your first foray to the essential oils shop.
This essential oil comes from the lavender plant, a flowering plant of the mint family said to have originated from the Mediterranean, India, and the Middle East. Many essential oil brands today source their lavender from the South of France. The aromatic fragrance of lavender is best used to relieve stress. Use this when you want to calm down after a particularly hectic day.
This essential oil comes from Mentha x Piperita, commonly known as peppermint. Like its lavender cousin, peppermint is also from the mint family. The essential oils come from the flowers and leaves of the plant. Its rejuvenating scent makes it an effectively quick “pick-me-up.” It is also popular among athletes as a muscle pain relief and also helpful to those suffering from irritable bowel syndrome.
Tea Tree oil
These oils are distilled from Melaleuca Alternifolia trees that have antibacterial and antifungal properties. Use Tea Tree oil to get rid of Athlete’s Foot and head lice and to control dandruff. Note, though, that this is a very potent essential oil. If you have sensitive skin, it would be best to consult with your dermatologist or licensed homeopathic practitioner before you attempt any DIY treatment of any skin condition, even if they are something as minor as zits.
Chamomile eases skin conditions, relieves pain from arthritis and sore muscles, and reduces anxiety. Homeopathic practitioners recommend using this before you go to bed to help induce sleep.
Though less popular compared to the rest in the list, Jasmine is by no means a tailgater as a beneficial essential oil. A study made by the Journal of Health Research showed that Jasmine had a more stimulating effect compared to sweet almond oil. Another study revealed that Jasmine, when used as a massage oil, can improve oxygen saturation, thus making you more alert and energetic.
Which brand should I trust?
Now that you know a few essential oils that you can confidently try out, how then do you pick the brand? Here are some points to consider
The manufacturer should be reputable.
Consider how long the brand has been in the market. The more reliable and popular brands that you can check out are Eden’s Garden, Young Living, and Plant Therapy. Don’t forget to check out the reviews or feedback of the buying public.
Scope the ingredients.
Read the fine print. Are the ingredients kid-safe? Are the oils 100% pure? Are they free from any additives, synthetic fragrances, or diluting fillers? If you want to bring the quality a notch higher, check if the essential oils have been organically produced (non-GMO and pesticide-free). Established companies should have this information on their labels or in their box inserts, if not on the packaging.
Know your price point.
In general, high-quality brands tend to be pricier. However, there are still many affordable options that can also offer you many benefits. Rocky Mountain Oils, Fantastic Frannie, Revive Essential Oils, and Aura Cacia Essential Oils are some brands that are high-grade and yet, will not burn a hole in your pocket.
Take note of these reminders.
- Always watch out for the expiration date, and don’t use the essential oils if they are expired.
- Keep away from eyes.
- Do not ingest as some essential oils can be toxic.
- Don’t forget to dilute the essential oils with carrier oils to avoid any skin irritations.
- When applying topically, use a skin patch first to test for any allergic reactions.
- Look for essential oils stored in dark amber bottles that keep their potency.